A win for Watarrka National Park
For the past few months this office has dedicated an enormous amount of resources helping the traditional owners of Watarrka National Park to prepare applications under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act. You can read more about the applicants here:
It has been time and energy well spent! On Tuesday of this week, all of that effort culminated in me travelling to Canberra alongside representatives of the traditional owner group to present the applications to Commonwealth Environment Minister, Greg Hunt. A few hours after our meeting with Minister Hunt, the Northern Territory Government capitulated, rejecting the application by Palatine Energy to drill for oil and gas within the Park. In response to the application’s rejection, the head of Palatine Energy reportedly said “The department had supported the application…I’d spoken to the minister. I’d spoken to the head of petroleum at the department. No one ever flagged the serious possibility that it was going to be declined”…”I’ve been led along for 3.5 years, with people in the NT government saying, ‘Here we can do this, we can do that’ and so forth. Then just because the heat in the kitchen got a bit high and the polls got a bit bad they go and do this”.
With the refusal of Palatine’s application for exploration the emergency application to Minister Hunt has been formally withdrawn. The application for a permanent declaration protecting Watarrka from resource extraction into the future remains on foot.
This is the kind of work that the EDONT does best. Helping people use legal mechanisms to protect the environment. In this case, one of Australia’s most loved and iconic national parks. Assisting the traditional owners in this case has been both a professional and personal highlight. Preparation of these applications would not have been possible without the outstanding support of the Central Land Council.
You can help the EDONT to continue doing work like this. So, if you can spare a little or a lot, we’d encourage you to sign up to our regular giving option. Northern Territory Government employees can give via their salary sacrifice option. Others can sign up via our give now page at:
Thanks for the ongoing support.
David Morris – Principal Lawyer
EDONT AGM Reminder
Please join us for our 2015 Annual General Meeting
Monday 30 November 2015 – 5.30pm
7 Searcy Street, Darwin
Drinks and finger food provided
Jacky Green wins conservation award
The EDONT would like to congratulate Jacky Green on being awarded the 2015 ACF Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award. More info here: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/gallery/jack-green-wins-rawlinson-award-fight-protect-environment-land-rights